Chapada das Mesas National Park

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Chapada das Mesas National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Parque Chapada das Mesas - Carolina-MA.JPG
Itapecuruzinho waterfall
Map showing the location of Chapada das Mesas National Park
Map showing the location of Chapada das Mesas National Park
Location Maranhão, Brazil
Nearest city Carolina
Coordinates 7°08′17″S 47°08′20″W / 7.138°S 47.139°W / -7.138; -47.139Coordinates: 7°08′17″S 47°08′20″W / 7.138°S 47.139°W / -7.138; -47.139
Area 159,952 hectares (395,250 acres)
Designation National park
Created 2005
Administrator ICMBio

Chapada das Mesas National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional da Chapada das Mesas) is a national park in the state of Maranhão, Brazil. It was created to preserve the untouched cerrado vegetation of the region, and as a barrier against the advance of farming.


The park has an area of 159,952 hectares (395,250 acres) and is in the Cerrado biome. It was created on 12 December 2005, and is administered by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation.[1] The park lies in the municipalities of Riachão, Estreito and Carolina in the state of Maranhão.[2]

Average annual rainfall is 1,400 millimetres (55 in), Temperatures range from 15 to 39 °C (59 to 102 °F) with an average of 26 °C (79 °F). The highest point is 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level.[2] The vegetation is characteristically that of the Cerrado, but includes open areas of grassland. The terrain includes hills and plateaus. The main rivers are the Farinha River in the north part and the Itapecuru River in the south, both fed by many springs and streams in the park.[2]

The park is in the Chapada das Mesas region, which has significant tourist potential due its pleasant climate, sandstone cliffs with rock carvings, many waterfalls and other attractions. Most of the attractions are in areas where the environment has been modified or which have large human populations, so are outside the park. Within the park the two main tourist attractions for many years were the São Romão and Prata waterfalls. The park is not open to visitors.[2]


As a national park the basic objectives are preservation of natural ecosystems of great ecological relevance and scenic beauty, enabling scientific research, educational activities, outdoor recreation and eco-tourism. The park was created primarily because it is an untouched Cerrado area that is threatened by the recent expansion of the agricultural frontier in Maranhão. It also contains more than 400 springs of important waterways.[2] Protected species in the park include the oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), cougar (Puma concolor), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), bare-faced curassow (Crax fasciolata) and Chaco eagle (Buteogallus coronatus).[1]